Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Making Progress--Warning--graphic cow description

It always feels good when I can strike one thing of the LIST. This fall it feels like I have been adding more to the list than I have been scratching things off. But today is a good day, a great day because I can scratch off GET BRIGID PREGNANT. (Not personally.)

You see, Andrew came yet again and we now have a bred cow. Or so we hope. Of all the visits, this is the one Brigid hates the most. She kicks and flings her body around trying to stop the process. It still amazes me how coordinated Andrew is. I know this is what he does for a living but still.

So here is how the AI process goes...The entire process takes 10 days. During the first visit he sticks the long plastic hormone implant inside Brigid and gives her a shot. Next visit he takes the implant out and gives her another hormone injection (or three, if she is flailing). But it's the last visit, where Andrew really shows his stuff.

First of all, you have to know that he drives around in a mild-mannered white pickup truck. Lifting the sides of topper (there is a better word for that but I forget it), he pokes around in these steamy cold containers that hold the vital juices of all kinds of bulls. You certainly couldn't tell by looking at the outside that he had special temperature controlled vats inside his truck.

We had our choice of Jersey bull--sexed or not, Angus bull or Dexter. Since we knew how she did with Dexter, we decided to try Angus and see if we liked that kind of mix. We knew we wanted her baby for meat, so Angus made more sense than Jersey. Each one of these decisions takes time and research because neither Steve nore I grew up around cows or knows much yet.

Once the decision is made, then Andrew fills the insemination syringe (extra long turkey baster?) with the appropriate stuff. This time it came from a bull named Above and Beyond. We secure Brig in the stanchion and he quickly puts syringe deep into her vagina. In order to guide it to where it needs to be he has to stick his other, very gloved arm up the other hole where you and I just don't want to go. From there he guides the syringe into place and releases it when it's ready. This is happening basically simultaneously. And all the while, Brigid is going ballistic and is kicking at him with both back feet and lurching around in the stanchion. Let's just say he has faster reflexes than an Olympic sprinter.

Andrew is gone in a flash and off to another farm where he will do this whole process again (and again). Last week when arrived at our house a bit late he apologized but said that he had just bred 53 cows that morning. Whoa. That's a lot of kick dodging. No wonder he is so fast.

The rest of the day, Brigid is a bit cranky. I don't blame her. I mean, not to anthropomorphize too much, but it does seem like a VERY invasive process on a non-consenting cow. Poor thing. At least I didn't humiliate her further by taking pictures.

Luckily, she loves being a mother.

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